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Thread: Short stories that aren't really short stories

  1. #51
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.

    Story Time!

    A Shot of Espresso

    The aroma of roasted coffee beans and baked pastries hung in the air like a warm blanket at ‘Moi Noir Paris’ cafe. Patrons sipped lattes, cold-press coffees, and other overpriced caffeinated drinks over the sound of tapping keyboards.

    A tall man and a short man, both wearing long trench coats the color of wet earth, sat on a remote corner.

    “It hadda be done Rick, right? No two ways about it. We get a call from the office, they say a name, boom. That’s that. Nothing else to discuss, right?” Fingers drummed over the table.

    “Right, Sam.” Rick had both both hands laid flat over the table between a tiny espresso cup.

    “‘Course I’m right, Rick! Chrissake…If it hadn’t been us, they would have given it to some fucking animal! We had to take this job, we owed Franccetti that much.”

    “May he rest in peace.” Rick rapped softly on the table with his knuckles.

    “Yeah…may he rest in peace. Well, better him than us, right? In the end it’s all about respect, see? Now, we’ll get paid and go our separate ways; adios and all that.”, Sam said, scratching his chin with the back of his fingers.

    “Respect. Sure.” Rick slowly bent his right thumb until an audible crack rose above the chorus of tapping keystrokes. He repeated the gesture with the rest of his fingers, slowly, without breaking eye contact. Sam only winced at this three times.

    “I mean…our fee for this contract’s double the usual rate! Like my mom always used to tell me, ‘Sam, honey, always look on the bright side and good things will come’”

    “Mine died when I was four.” Rick said softly. He picked a sugar packet, tore it open and poured its contents in his mouth before crumbling the packet in his hand.

    “Er…In any case, I’m probably going to buy a sail boat, like the one old Francetti used to have! A beat up one, mind you. Keep myself busy fixing it. Heh, what a swell guy, right? Made a couple of nobodies like us into somebodies.” Sam’s grin almost looked wistful.

    Rick simply nodded, his knuckles had turned slightly white. For a second, Sam thought he saw Rick’s hand tremble, but then he opened it, dropping the crumpled bits of paper before resting his hand flat over the table again.

    Sam’s eyes went to the crumpled paper then to Rick’s face. “Still…we would have been small fry if we’d stayed with him. Now we’re on to bigger and better things!” Sam’s grin now looked like a monkey’s, all teeth bared, eager to pick a fight.

    “Bullshit.”, Rick said flatly.

    Sam had slipped his right hand under the table and into his trench coat’s side pocket. “What’s your problem, asshole?”

    In reply Rick picked up the small cup in front of him, looking at it, as if trying to ingrain every detail into memory. After feeling satisfied, he slurped the black liquid in it and set the cup back down again with an audible clink.

    “You fixing something up. Bullshit” Rick repeated in the same tone.

    “Hey, fuck you, alright? Fuck you. I’m good at fixing things.” Sam’s voice had gone up an octave.

    “Except a decent cup of coffee back at the office.” Rick split his thin lips into a crooked grin.

    Sam’s eyes opened wide before he burst out laughing, uncoiling himself. A few of the younger patrons swiveled their heads in their direction, eyebrows raised. “Of all the lousy, shitty jokes to make…” Sam pulled out his hand from the trench coat, using it to give Rick the finger before reaching out to punch him gently on the shoulder.

    “It was Franccetti’s. I liked the old guy.” Rick said, still flashing his crooked grin, but his eyes looked away from Sam.

    “Me too… Anyways, you want to call it in or should I?” Sam drummed his fingers on the table, trying to recall a song he once heard, but wasn’t hitting the notes right.

    “Be my guest.” Rick shrugged, as if it was none of his business. “You tapped him. They’ll probably give you a bonus.”

    “Thems the breaks, man. I was always a lucky shot!” Sam said with some false modesty.

    “Bang.” Rick winked, making a gun gesture with his hand towards Sam.

    “Ok then, just gonna use the payphone a block from here. Be back in five.”


    Sam gulped down the rest of his latte, quickly squeezing Rick’s shoulder on his way out. Rick sat alone with the sound of keyboards filling his head. He pulled out two black leather gloves from his trench coat and put them on, counted a minute, stood up and headed towards the entrance; his left hand tucked into his trench coat’s side pocket. The sun hung low, making his shadow stretch far and wide as he walked down the street.

  2. #52
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.


  3. #53
    Registered: Feb 2008
    Location: on a mission to civilize
    Nice, Mr. D! I kinda wonder if changing the names to Sam and Ray (for Samuel Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, instead of Sam Spade and Rick Blaine) as an homage to the two great hardboiled noir writers would be a nice touch, though I do like your utilizing Bogart's characters as they are more recognizable and instantly gives the reader a visual.

  4. #54
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.
    It's funny how the subconcious uses things you pick up without you even realizing it. Case in point: the names I used were to be commonplace and short, but I had not intended it to pay homage/reference to any particular characters.

    Hope this doesn't lessen the story for you in any way, though. <3 Tell me what you think, Queue.

  5. #55
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.

    And now, for some flash fiction!

    Hair Down
    Long ago, they say, there once was a fair maiden, whose shining black hair flowed from atop her crown past her soles below. Long it spread, far and wide, covering all the land; trees and rivers, mountains and valleys, every hovel of every village, every square of every city. Even their capital lay under its silk-smooth cover. Men, women, children and beasts were tangled in its supple touch. One by one they drifted into that sweet oblivion that is sleep. A scent of fresh flowers filled the air. Bliss, o bliss! Soon, the land was quiet under the endless mane. Now, she stands alone, amid a sea as black as a starless night; she combs it gently, slowly. A lover’s caress every night. Dreaming, yearning, of growing her hair just a little bit more. Just a bit more. A bit more. More. More. More.


  6. #56
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    This one may be too long, added to which 1) I wrote it a long time ago and 2) I'm not 100% sold on the performance, but anyway, here's a story of mine that was one of the Liars' League winners this month.

  7. #57
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: above the clouds
    Well written, Thirith. Wondering where you got the idea from, or if you were intending some comment about not questioning authority.

    Who would you choose to read it if you could pick anyone?

  8. #58
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Can’t remember where the idea came from, but at the time I often started with a somewhat absurd premise and then put a real character in it. Obviously there’s a theme here of unquestioning compliance taken to an extreme, but when writing I never set out to make a point.

    If I could pick anyone to read the story, it’d probably be someone like Martin Freeman ten years ago. Someone who can do sarcastic and passive aggressive, someone who doesn’t seem like a man of action. The actor didn’t do it badly, but he was more emphatic and younger than I would’ve gone for.

  9. #59
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: above the clouds
    Martin Freeman did a good rendition of the Hictchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books. You just reminded me of his interpretation of Marvin, which was spot-on.

  10. #60
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Mike finally opened the car door. It had taken months for this, between the DVLA, the police, the cameras from the petrol station across the road to try identify the owner and Mike’s wife, who wanted him to have nothing to do with this and whose constant scaremongering (“It’s drugs, I’m sure of it. Think of the children!”) had almost driven him nuts.

    The day he’d received the replacement key from the Mercedes garage felt a little unreal. No one was listed as the owner, the DVLA had no registered keeper and the police had no record of the car being used in any crimes. But it was from Mercedes; they confirmed it. The serial numbers all added up and the car had come off the production line in Sindelfingen. They just didn’t have any record of where it went.

    Opening the door was exciting because it was just so odd. It popped open like seal, and a fresh car smell hit Mike like an invite. There was a hint of something else within the aroma, something sweet, fragrant, a perfume Mike imagined a famous actress might use. The interior was pristine and, as they’d said, the highest spec for the model. Mike slid into the leather chair and pulled the door to with a satisfying click.

    The engine started on the first try, and this amazed Mike a little since the car had remained abandoned for at least 18 months now. He cranked the polished aluminium head of the gearstick into reverse and smoothly, almost silently, glided out of the space. The fuel was about 90% full! “Home.” he thought, “Let’s see what Sarah makes of this once it’s hers!”.

    Mike turned on the radio. The Archers was on. He let it play, Mike turned the car out of the carpark and out onto the A road headed north. It drove like a dream.

    Thirty minutes into the drive a warning light came on. Mike couldn’t tell what it meant though; he’d never seen that symbol in any car before and just ignored it. Five minutes later another warning light came on – oil. Then the engine warning light. And then another symbol he didn’t recognised.

    Then the reserve fuel light. The tank seemed to have sprung a leak,

    Mike had to turn off the A road somewhere near Spinethorpe, in the hope of reaching the rural petrol station he’d used in emergencies before. It was too late though and he ended up coasting into a layby. The light was fading by now and a light rain had started. The wipers wouldn’t work though and he couldn’t tell if the poor visibility was due to the rain or a rapidly developing mist.

    Mike suddenly realised how tired he felt. “A quick nap ought to do it “, he thought. Yes, a nap then a call to Sarah seemed like the right thing. Mike put the seat back and relaxed. The Archers had ended and the radio only seemed to pick up a low static that he couldn’t turn off. As he drifted off to sleep Mike became aware of a slightly sweet smell, an almost seductive fragrance.

    When John pulled on the handle of the Mercedes it felt like he was the first person to ever open this brand-new car. “They really know how to make them in Germany,” he thought. “Why on earth would anyone abandon one?”

  11. #61
    New Member
    Registered: Oct 2017
    Anyone wants to read my stories? I publish them here, but under a different username. I'm not sure if they are accepted on ttlg, as they are NSFW.

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